Bhagavad Gita IV.13

Ashish Chandra ramkisno at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 28 12:48:03 CDT 1999

Namaste All,

A friend of mine and I went to a Satsang yesterday with one of the Swamis of
the Divine Life Society parampara (founded by Swami Sivananda).

I asked the swamiji how can we discriminate as to what our true karma is. He
said that whatever situation you are in, do your best so as to exhaust your
karma here. When I said "what about Varna and Ashram dharma?", his reply
wasn't quite convincing.

On the way back, I told my friend about how the Acharyas of Shankara Mathams
encourage all Brahmanas to take up some form of Vedadhyaaya. One thing led
to another and he mentioned that why should I believe Manu who can just
proclaim that X would be a Brahmin and Y a Kshatriya and Z a Sudra. I am not
knowledgeable in this matter at all but I told him what I could about the 4
Smritis and the Dharmas enjoined in them for each Varna and Ashram. Then he
said that all this was created by man. To which I said that Bhagawan Krishna
himself has said in the Gita that the four varnas are created by Him. The
Purushah Sukta mentions the First Purusha and describes the creation of the
4 varnas. Manu being a sage, sought to codify the existing behaviour of the
Varnas of his time and so we have the various laws etc.

My(actually my friend's) question to the members is

1) Why did Shri Krishna need the 4 varnas (I did what I could with the Gunas
aspect but my lack of info is telling here).

2) Why is there no lateral movement within the Varnas allowed (I told him
that a Jati could switch if it so wished but not an individual. I also gave
him the example of Adi Shankara converting tribes of Balucchis to Kshatriyas
during his travels.)

3) Could someone explain BG IV.13. I have read Adi Shankaracharya's
commentary and so has my friend but he has the doubt expressed in question


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